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14 Ways to Protect Your Mental Health in the Time of Covid

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By Cherie Jones PhD - Psychologist
  1. Consider how to connect with others: Physical isolation does not mean social isolation. Regular video calls with friends and family can be a major help to beat the stress of isolation. Reach out to everyone. Don’t wait for them to get in touch.
  2. Help and support others: Think about how you could help those around you – it could make a big difference to them and can make you feel better too.
  3. Talk about your worries: Remember that this is a difficult time for everyone and sharing how you are feeling and the things you are doing to cope with family and friends can help them too.
  4. Look after your physical wellbeing: Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water, exercise inside where possible and outside once a day (keeping the recommended 2 metres from others.
  5. Look after your sleep: Try to maintain regular sleeping patterns and keep good sleep hygiene practices – like avoiding screens before bed, cutting back on caffeine and creating a restful environment.
  6. Try to manage difficult feelings: Try to focus on the things you can control, including where you get information from and actions to make yourself feel better prepared. Only get information from official government sources. There is a lot of misinformation peddled by dubious sources that may have a criminal or political agenda.
  7. Manage your media and information intake: 24-hour news and constant social media updates can make you more worried. It may help to only check the news at set times or limit yourself to a couple of checks a day.
  8. Get the facts: Gather high-quality information that will help you to accurately determine your own or other people’s risk of contracting coronavirus (COVID-19) so that you can take reasonable precautions.
  9. Think about your new daily routine: Think about how you can adapt and create positive new routines – try to engage in useful activities (such as cleaning, cooking or exercise) or meaningful activities (such as reading or calling a friend). You might find it helpful to write a plan for your day or your week.
  10. Do things you enjoy: If you can’t do the things you normally enjoy because you are staying at home, try to think about how you could adapt them, or try something new. There are lots of free tutorials and courses online.
  11. Set goals: Setting goals and achieving them gives a sense of control and purpose – think about things you want or need to do that you can still do at home.
  12. Keep your mind active: Read, write, play games, do crossword puzzles, Sudokus, jigsaws or drawing and painting. Find something that works for you.
  13. Take time to relax and focus on the present: Relaxation techniques can help some people to deal with feelings of anxiety. There are many resources that teaches how to relax.
  14. If you can, once a day get outside, or bring nature in: Spending time in green spaces can benefit both your mental and physical wellbeing. If you can’t get outside you can try to get these positive effects by spending time with the windows open, or arranging space to sit and see a view (if possible) and get some natural sunlight.

 

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